Keep America Beautiful, Inc., along with The Sherwin-Williams Company, has announced the recipients of three $2,000 grants under the 2008 Graffiti Hurts® Grant Program. Three organizations from around the nation will receive the funds to be used for graffiti prevention. The groups are: Kent Police Department in Washington State; ASPIRA, Inc. of New Jersey; and the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization in Minnesota.
These grants are awarded to entities in communities with populations less than 100,000, between 100,000 and 300,000, and over 300,000 in an effort to enhance local graffiti prevention activities. The Graffiti Hurts® Grant Program was initiated in 2007.
“This year’s grant recipients presented exceptional plans to educate and engage at-risk youth, and to bring their entire communities together to prevent and eradicate graffiti,” said Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “All of the winners show wonderful examples of how to change behavior, prevent negative impacts to society, and create a sense of ownership for their community. We’re grateful to The Sherwin-Williams Company for their ongoing support of the Graffiti Hurts program, a nationwide resource for communities addressing graffiti problems.”
Graffiti Hurts was developed in 1996 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, a non-profit education and community improvement organization, and Sherwin-Williams, maker of Krylon paint, to respond to the blight of graffiti vandalism in communities nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, graffiti contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales, and declines in property value.
Nearly 100 applications were submitted for the Graffiti Hurts National Grant Program, representing the best of local governments, police departments, schools, nonprofit volunteer organizations, and other groups dedicated to eradicating graffiti vandalism.
“Sherwin-Williams is proud to sponsor the Graffiti Hurts program, and is dedicated to supporting initiatives that help prevent and eradicate graffiti,” said Harvey Sass, president and general manager, Diversified Brands Division, The Sherwin-Williams Company. “Graffiti Hurts has effectively addressed this issue nationwide, and we commend the 2008 grant winners for their innovative plans to stop graffiti in their communities.”
The proposed programs include the Kent Police Department’s initiative to enlist at-risk youth, businesses, neighborhood associations, and Weed Seed volunteers to “adopt” 10 locations in the city prone to graffiti vandalism. Volunteers will be given graffiti removal kits as well as graffiti prevention training. Signs and other education will create awareness among community residents.
ASPIRA, Inc. of New Jersey in Newark will work with at-risk youth on graffiti education using the Graffiti Hurts® curriculum, execution of two graffiti cleanups, and the production of a public service announcemnt that will raise awareness about graffiti vandalism and the risks for youth.
The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization in Minneapolis, MN, which also applied for a grant in 2007, will use Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to change the environment at 10 neighborhood locations identified as graffiti vandalism “hot spots.” This will include changes to landscape, lighting, fencing, cleanup, and other activities.